Death, Funerals, Burial and Cremation: A Review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and Related Legislation

Death, dying, and bereavement are inevitable experiences for us all. We lose loved ones, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. And we ourselves will die. Every culture has unique perspectives on death and dying and develop their own processes and rituals which deserve to be respected and enabled.

There have been many calls to regulate the funeral industry from the public, as well as from within the industry itself. Pricing information lacks transparency and there is no clear complaints process to address poor service by some funeral directors.

Legislation needs to reflect current trends and preferences, be future proofed as much as possible, and be responsive to differing belief systems. Tikanga Māori (such as staying with the deceased person until burial) and the rights of tangata whenua must be respected and protected within legislation. The Māori Affairs Committee 2017 report, for example, highlights the need to balance cultural considerations and public interest in establishing cause of death.